Sunday, 17 November, 2019

US officials identify ‘strong culprit’ in vaping illnesses

The public has been urged not to use e-cigarettes following a Lancet study into vaping The public has been urged not to use e-cigarettes following a Lancet study into vaping Credit Tony Dejak AP
Anna Jefferson | 08 November, 2019, 22:27

It isn't clear how widespread the use of vitamin E acetate is in e-cigarette and vaping products.

Vitamin E acetate is a thick and gummy syrup, similar in consistency to honey, that some illegal makers of vaping liquids use to dilute their product in order to reduce the amount of active ingredients they need to add.

"These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury- within the lungs- and the samples reflect patients from states across the country", Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of CDC, said during a press conference on Friday.

If you're interested, you can read the CDC's weekly Morbidity and Mortality report here.

Scientists may finally know what's behind vaping lung illnesses that have sickened more than 2,000 in the United States: a combination THC and an oil derived from vitamin E, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday. As of November 5, there were 2,051 cases reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia and one USA territory, the CDC said on Thursday, with 39 confirmed deaths.

This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries.

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Vitamin E acetate was an early suspect as a cause of vaping-related illnesses after scientists in a NY lab discovered its presence in many samples of products used by sickened vapers. The investigation has found that many of these products patients used were bought online or received through friends or family, rather than through vaping shops or at licensed THC dispensaries. The substance has also been identified in tests by USA and state officials of product samples collected from patients with the vaping injury.

Vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from the vitamin, has already been identified in previous testing by federal and state laboratories in vape products that contain THC.

But the agency left open the possibility that other chemicals or toxins could also be causing the severe respiratory ailments.

Health officials continue to urge the public to avoid vaping and in particular, to avoid products that contain THC or that were purchased from informal sources.

Although the substance was detected in all 29 of the lung samples, which came from patients in several different states, more testing is needed to establish a causal link between exposure and injury, Schuchet said, adding that "many substances are still under investigation".

The CDC conducted laboratory tests to determine if there was any single substance present in lung samples from those who came down with the weird illness. But when it is heated and inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung function.

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